It's now official. Athletics Bendigo in conjunction with the organisers of the Heathcote Community Games are preparing to launch its inaugural locally organised marathon that will happen on Sunday 1st May. Away from the bitumen for the vast majority of the race it will be held on the O’Keefe Trail, which is a great compromise for those worried about an extremely rough trail and those that are accustomed to running on the bitumen.
In recent months Craig Green on behalf of Athletics Bendigo and Sandra Slatter of the Heathcote Community Games with her team have been working in ensuring the logistics of the event could allow it to proceed. Discussions with Vic Roads and the City of Greater Bendigo have been very positive.
The Mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo Rod Fyffe launched the event. Bruce Michelsen a former Bendigo athlete who won in 1982 the 50+ section in the last marathon within the boundaries of the City of Greater Bendigo held as part of the Country Championships was in attendance and spoke at the launch. President of Athletics Bendigo Craig Burnett and Sandra Slatter from the Heathcote Community Games spoke of the benefit of athletics or active participation and running bringing communities together with a marathon between Bendigo and Heathcote will join many people and communities.
Our local and current State Marathon Champion Brady Threlfall will also be part of the event as a pacer to assist others reaching their goals as just weeks before he will be competing in an overseas marathon.
The event will also include a Half Marathon starting from the marathon finish at Heathcote and go out to the Knowsley State Forest and return. There is also a Quarter Marathon on the O’Keefe Trail and trails around Heathcote.
An exciting part of the event will be the Ekiden Relay where a team of 7 will have the opportunity to each run a leg of various distances over the 42.195km marathon journey. For local athletic club members that don’t run the other longer distances we hope the Athletics Bendigo clubs and Little Athletics support the event by putting in many teams in what will be a fun team event. Additionally the Bendigo Park Runners, businesses, fitness groups, friendship groups, sporting clubs and community groups get on board with the Ekiden Relay concept.
The exact courses of each event will be advised when entries open and the website in development stage now is launched on January 1.
Start training now for one of the events. For local Heathcote residents training will be held at Barrack Reserve Heathcote beween 5.45 and 6.45 starting on Thursday 7th January. For locals from Bendigo and surrounds training will be at 6.15pm to 7,15pm from Monday 11th January.